JD Dillard, the writer/director behind Sleight and Sweetheart will develop a Star Wars project along with Luke Cage and Agents of SHIELD writer Matt Owens. Dillard, whose Sweetheart is currently available on Netflix and is a must-watch, has experience in the franchise, having worked on The Force Awakens with JJ Abrams and even donning stormtrooper armor in a cameo in The Rise of Skywalker.
While it's currently unclear if this will be bound for theatrical release or go straight to Disney+, this announcement is already groundbreaking, as it represents the first time any Star Wars live action project has been led by people of color.
during black history month (but also always), can we greenlight more black genre films, as a treat?
— JD Dillard (@JGDillard) February 5, 2020
Ummmm. . . wish granted, sir.
I had the opportunity to speak with Dillard at Fantastic Fest last year where he was presenting Sweetheart. He is one of the coolest and most kind, chill folks I've ever had the opportunity to speak to, and I couldn't be more excited to have him on a Star Wars project.
"My paramount north star in everything that I make is that the people who normally don't get to do the cool things get to do the cool things. If I had a back tattoo that is what it what it would say."
Sooo. . . can this be a Rose Tico and Jannah run around the galaxy stomping on the military-industrial complex? Or, perhaps even better, Dillard and Owens can find their own corner of a galaxy far, far away, populate it with new characters, and tell a completely original story? Hey, it worked for Rogue One and The Mandalorian.
Regardless, I have infinite faith in Dillard and think this is the right move for Star Wars in general. And the general idea of "people who normally don't get to do the cool things get to do the cool things" is a great direction for Star Wars as well, especially post "Everyone important is a Palpatine or Skywalker."
Another thing Dillard has goign for him is his experience with creature work from Sweetheart. He made an inspired choice to team with creature legend Neville Page, and the results speak for themselves.
Go watch Sweetheart if you haven't. Go watch Sleight. Read our interview with him where we talk about Alien, karaoke, Pokemon, Will Smith. . . as I said, he's delightful. And I can't imagine someone else I'd be more excited about helming a Star Wars project.
"The north star doesn't change. Just trying to put new faces into the stories I love again and again and again and again."
Now that's a Star Wars I want to see, and exactly the kind of new direction the franchise desperately needs.
If you want to catch more of Dillard's work, he also directed tonight's episode of The Outsider, "Foxhead."